SHAMUS O’BLIVION – The Devil Made Me Do It (Own Label)

Over thirty years ago, being a callow youth, I entered the ‘folk’ music scene naive to the mechanics of it all and in rushing headlong missed any subtleties inherent in the music itself. Of course, missing the point entirely, the beauty of the music didn’t reveal itself to me until years later and much like the creation Shamus O’Blivion, I didn’t really give a jot to any sensitivity and ploughed straight in with an attack that would surely have made Margaret Thatcher proud to use us as ammunition on an unsuspecting Argentinean army. The Pogues in particular have much to answer in popularising ‘thrash folk’ and with this in mind I hope that my review will reflect both the positive and negative sides of having a good time whilst not over-egging what many would see as the boundaries of good or bad taste. Firstly the music of O’Blivion itself is what others might deem sub-standard in performance but in these times of “to hell with the music let’s just get on with it” I suppose we should be prepared to tolerate at least a bit of it. By all accounts it’s what the youth (mainly end of evening festival goers) of today want and who am I to pass judgement on a ‘cocky’ disrespect to our heritage having been there myself. Plagiarism in utilising “Morrison’s Jig” to open the set brings back memories of East Of Eden’s “Jig-a-Jig” and a sub standard attempt at Shane MacGowan style vocals is nothing new, perhaps more laughable to the ageing cynicism of crusty old ‘folkies’ like me. Better to accept defeat and rise above it as usually in these cases it’ll blow itself out within a couple of years. Mind you, from an observer’s point of view casting my eyes over the cheap paper sticker on the disk and ink jet quality cover they’re more than likely good ‘craic’…but you didn’t hear that from me.


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